The war in Ukraine might be about to take a dark turn as Russian forces deploy the use of hypersonic missiles. This marks the first time Russian forces have used hypersonic missiles in combat.
The Kinzhal hypersonic missiles were used by Russian forces to destroy an underground ammunition storage facility in Delyatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.
The Daily Star reported that information on the attack remains scant but that Russia has long boasted about its hypersonic weapons arsenal which contains missiles that can evade traditional anti-missile defense systems.
These missiles include the 3M22 Zircon missile which is a low-flying rocket that is able to speed past early detection technologies. It, and other similar weapons in the Russian arsenal, have a range of around 1,000 kilometers.
The state-owned Russian television network, TV Zvezda, said that “The Russian Zircon hypersonic missile’s stealth features have been disclosed” indicating that this missile was, in fact, utilized against the Ukrainians.
“The speed of the Zircon hypersonic missile is so high that it prevents the opponent’s air defense system from detecting its impact in time,” the state-owned network boasted.
It continued by suggesting that “[the missile’s] launch will be known only after the target has been hit” and that the missile has “variable trajectory” making it difficult for even advanced defense systems to detect it.
Igor Krokhmal, the launching frigate’s commander, said, “No one will see the missile launch or its flight. They will only see when the missile hits the target.”
The U.S. Sun reported that Krokkhmal said there won’t be anything that can counter the Zircon missile for years to come.
He said, “A surface target, a coastal target. I don’t think there will be anything to counter this in the next few years.”
In December, when the missile was being tested, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “Zircon are our newest missiles fired from the sea at sea targets, and land targets.”
He added, “The [missile] tests were carried out successfully, flawlessly” and said that “this is a big event for our country, a significant step in improving Russia’s security, in increasing [our] defensive capability.”
Similarly, last-October, the Chinese government launched a nuclear capable hypersonic missile into space that was able to circle the globe without being detected.
The Long March rocket, operated by the China National Space Administration, purportedly caught American intelligence agencies by surprise.
“We have no idea how they did this,” an anonymous U.S. official told the Financial Times.